An ambitious exploration of the making of the Victorian age and the Victorian mind and will delight readers of similar titles such as A. N. Wilson's The Victorians.
Simon Heffer was born in 1960. He read English at Cambridge and took a PhD at that university in modern history. His previous books include- Moral Desperado- A Life of Thomas Carlyle, Like the Roman- The Life of Enoch Powell, Nor Shall My Sword- The Reinvention of England, Vaughan Williams, the highly successful Strictly English and A Short History of Power. In a career of nearly 30 years in Fleet Street he has written columns for and held senior positions on the Daily Mail, the Daily Telegraph and the Spectator.
Heffer has written a stunning overview of the great and the good -
and the not-so-good - of Victorian society and of the changes which
a largely benevolent capitalism brought about. * Sarah Bradford,
The Literary Review *
High Minds is worthy to the task: serious, scholarly, grand and determined...an excellent guide to the aesthetics of the age. * Tristram Hunt, New Statesman *
[I]t is really a whole bookshelf of books. If you want a succinct volume on the Clarendon Commission and the debates on education, there is a not-so-slim volume embedded here. There is another on the desperate case of the formidable Caroline Norton and the battle to give women rights...another on the great philanthropists; another on crime and punishment; another (wonderfully detailed and compelling) on the Great Exhibition and the foundation of Albertopolis; another on the sewers; a terrific essay on the struggle between Gothic and Italianate architecture; and of course plenty of politics...This is a great sweeping, confident book, demonstrating the self-same energy and passion as do the Victorian heroes Heffer celebrates. It is a magnificent achievement. * William Waldegrave, The Times *
[A] stimulating and thoroughly enjoyable book...[Heffer] is sometimes tendentious but never unreasonable, writes notably well and provides an admirable introduction to a period of history which many of us will think that we know quite well but have never considered from this point of view before. * Philip Ziegler, The Spectator *
High Minds is partly social history, partly a history of ideas. It is the personalities involved that contribute such liveliness to this assured and magisterial narrative. * Matthew Dennison, The Sunday Telegraph *